THE ARRIVAL of the first gannets of the season on the Bass Rock is being celebrated at the Scottish Seabird Centre.

The first gannet was spotted at about 9.30am on Tuesday, on the Discovery Centre’s interactive live cameras by Alex Turnbull, Discovery Centre manager (pictured above). The sighting is a significant milestone in the start of the nesting season on the Firth of Forth islands.

The area is of international importance for seabirds and over the coming months it will be home to around 500,000 seabirds including puffins, cormorants, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, shags and terns.

Scotland is home to around 60 per cent of the world’s population of Northern gannets (Morus bassanus).

The Bass Rock is the world’s largest colony of Northern gannets and was crowned BBC Countryfile Magazine’s Nature Reserve of the Year for two years running.

Alex Turnbull said: “The first sighting is normally towards the end of February, so it has been a tense few days as we have been waiting for them to land.

“When I arrived at work on Tuesday I saw the first of the gannets sitting on the Bass Rock, staring back at me.

“It is brilliant to see them back and we will look forward to seeing thousands returning over the coming weeks.”

Visitors to the Scottish Seabird Centre can control interactive live cameras located on the Firth of Forth islands, including the Bass Rock, in the Discovery Centre.

They can zoom in on a range of wildlife, without any disturbance in any way. Boat trips to the Bass Rock will start from Easter.